FBI Agent Arrested For Violating Russia Sanctions Was Brookfield Properties Exec During Alleged Money Laundering
A former FBI agent who went on to become a senior executive at Brookfield Properties has been charged with money laundering and violating U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Charles McGonigal, a former Brookfield senior vice president for global security and life safety, was arrested and charged on Saturday, the Department of Justice announced.
McGonigal, who stepped down from his role as a special agent in charge at the FBI’s counterintelligence division in 2018, is accused of money laundering, conspiring to commit money laundering and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He pleaded not guilty on Monday, CNN reported.
He was charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who went on to become a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices after becoming a U.S. citizen.
Together, McGonigal and Shestakov are accused of providing services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who founded one of Russia’s largest industrial groups and was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election, per CNN. McGonigal, who was still at the FBI at that time, supervised and participated in investigations that resulted in sanctioning multiple Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska.
In September 2018, McGonigal left the FBI for Brookfield, CoStar News reported. He worked in New York as a senior vice president for global security and life safety and left the firm in January 2022, a Brookfield spokesperson told CoStar.
In 2021, while McGonigal was at Brookfield, the pair allegedly conspired to provide services to Deripaska in violation of sanctions, agreeing to investigate a rival oligarch in exchange for secret payments.
Both McGonigal and Shestakov were aware that they were violating sanctions because of McGonigal’s role at the FBI, the DOJ alleges.
The pair tried to conceal activities by never directly naming Deripaska in their communications, instead referring to him as “the big guy,” “you know whom” or “the client,” according to the indictment.
They also used shell companies to perform activities, send and receive payments, and forge signatures on a contract outlining their work. McGonigal was part of one of the shell companies based in New Jersey while still at the bureau.
McGonigal is also facing charges in D.C. for accepting almost a quarter of a million dollars from a business person with interests in Europe who was formerly employed by an Albanian intelligence officer. McGonigal was at the FBI at the time and allegedly hid the payments from the agency.
The conspiracy and money laundering charges against McGonigal and Shestakov carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each, while charges of lying to officials carry up to five-year sentences.